Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance
by E.W. Bullinger
Philologos Religous Online Books
Five is four plus one (4+1). We have had hitherto the three persons of the Godhead, and their manifestation in creation. Now we have a further revelation of a People called out from mankind, redeemed and saved, to walk with God from earth to heaven. Hence, Redemption follows creation. Inasmuch as in consequence of the fall of man creation came under the curse and was "made subject to vanity," therefore man and creation must be redeemed. Thus we have:
These are the five great mysteries, and five is therefore the number of GRACE.
If four is the number of the world, then it represents man's weakness, and helplessness, and vanity, as we have seen.
But four plus one (4+1=5) is significant of Divine strength added to and made perfect in that weakness; of omnipotence combined with the impotence of earth; of Divine favour uninfluenced and invincible.
The word "the earth" is Cr)h (Ha-Eretz).
The gematria of this word is 296, a multiple of four; while the word for "the heavens" is Mym#h (Ha-shemayeem), the gematria of which is 395, a multiple of five
The gematria of h cariV (grace) is 725, a multiple of the square of five (52x29).
The numerical value of the words "My grace is sufficient for thee" ('Arkei soi h cariV mou) is 1845, of which the factors are 5 x 32 x 41. (See pp. 76,77.)
Grace means favour. But what kind of favour? for favour is of many kinds. Favour shown to the miserable we call mercy; favour shown to the poor we call pity; favour shown to the suffering we call compassion; favour shown to the obstinate we call patience: but favour shown to the unworthy we call GRACE! This is favour indeed; favour which is truly Divine in its source and in its character. Light is thrown upon it in Romans 3:24, "being justified freely by His grace." The word here translated "freely" occurs again in John 15:25, and is translated "without a cause" ("they hated me without a cause"). Was there any real cause why they hated the Lord Jesus? No! Nor is there any cause in us why God should ever justify us. So we might read Romans 3:24 thus: "Being justified without a cause by His grace." Yes, this is grace indeed,—favour to the unworthy.
It was so with Abram. There was no cause in him why God should have called him and chosen him! There was no cause why God should have made an unconditional covenant with him and his seed for ever. Therefore the number five shall be stamped upon this covenant by causing it to be made with five sacrifices—a heifer, a goat, a ram, a dove, and a pigeon (Gen 15:9). See pp. 54, 113.
It is remarkable, also, that afterwards, when God changed Abram's name to Abraham (Gen 17:5), the change was made very simply, but very significantly (for there is no chance with God), by inserting in the middle of it the fifth letter of the alphabet, h (Hey), the symbol of the number five, and Mrb), Abram, became Mhrb) AbraHam (Gen 17:5). All this was of grace, and it is stamped with this significance. It is worthy of note that this change was made at a particular moment. It was when Abraham was called to "walk before" God in a very special manner. He was to look for the promised "seed" from no earthly source, and thus he was to "walk by faith and not by sight." It was at this moment that God revealed Himself for the first time by His name of EL SHADDAI, i.e. the all bountiful One! able to supply all Abraham's need; able to meet all his necessities; able to do for him all that he required. How gracious! How suitable! How perfect! It is the same in 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18, when we are called, as Abraham was, to "come out," to "be separate," and walk by faith with God. He reveals himself (for the first time in the New Testament) by the same wonderful name, "Ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord ALMIGHTY"!—able to support and to sustain you; able to supply all your need. This is grace.
magnifies the grace of God, and in it special pains, so to speak, are taken to emphasise the great fact that not for the sake of the people, but for God's own Name's sake had He called, and chosen, and blessed them. Read Deuteronomy 4:7, 20, 32, 37, 8:11, 17, etc.
sets forth the same great fact. Its first Psalm (Psa 107) magnifies this, and shows how "He sent His word and healed them" (v 20), and again and again delivered them out of all their trouble.
has also special reference to God's "FAVOUR," or grace, with which He encompasses His people. Psalm 5:12, "For thou LORD wilt bless the righteous; with FAVOUR wilt Thou compass him [Heb. crown him] as with a shield."
will be the fifth kingdom, succeeding and comprehending the four great world-powers, absorbing all earthly dominion, when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Anointed, and He shall reign in glory and in grace.
five in a rank. In Exodus 13:18 it says, "The children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt." In the margin it says they went up by five in a rank, My#mx from #mx, five. It may be in ranks, i.e. fifties, as in 2 Kings 1:9 and Isaiah 3:5.* The point is that they went up in perfect weakness; helpless, and defenceless; but they were invincible through the presence of Jehovah in their midst.
* In Joshua 1:14, "Ye shall pass over before your brethren armed." Margin: "Heb., marshalled by five." This may have some reference to the fact that the number five was specially hateful to the Egyptians, if indeed it were not the cause of such hatred. Sir Gardner Wilkinson tells us that even down to the present day the number five is regarded as an evil number in modern Egypt. On their watches the fifth hour, "V," is marked by a small circle, "o."
were chosen by David when he went to meet the giant enemy of Israel (1 Sam 17:40). They were significant of his own perfect weakness supplemented by Divine strength. And he was stronger in this weakness than in all the armour of Saul. It is worthy of note that after all he used only the one, not any of the four. That one was sufficient to conquer the mightiest foe.
that David's son and David's Lord used in His conflict with that great enemy of whom Goliath was the faintest type. It was only the Book of Deuteronomy which formed the one stone with which he defeated the Devil himself (compare Matt 4:1-11 and Deut 8:3, 6:13,16). No wonder that this Book of Deuteronomy is the object of Satan's hatred. "No marvel" that today his ministers, "transformed as the ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor 11:14,15), are engaged in the attempt to demolish this Book of Deuteronomy with their destructive criticism. But their labour is all in vain, for it is stamped with the number which marks the omnipotence of Jehovah's power and grace.
"Five of you shall chase a thousand, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight" (Lev 26:8), conveys the truth elsewhere revealed;—"If God be for us who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31). But note, it does not say "five shall chase a thousand"; but "five OF YOU,"—five of those whom God has redeemed and delivered, and whom He will strengthen with His own might.
"I had rather speak five words with the understanding, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" (1 Cor 14:19). That is to say, a few words spoken in the fear of God, in human weakness, depending on Divine strength and blessing, will be able to accomplish that which God has purposed; while words without end will be spoken in vain. Man may applaud the latter and bestow his admiration on their eloquence. But God will own only the former, and follow them with this blessing, making them to work effectually in them that believe (1 Thess 1:6, 2:13).
was five-fold in its nature, because it was the expression of His grace in this deliverance of His people. It brought out, therefore, five distinct objections from Pharaoh. Jehovah's demand sprang purely from His own spontaneous grace. Nothing necessitated it; neither Israel's misery nor Israel's merit called it forth. "God heard their groaning, and God remembered HIS covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them" (Exo 2:24,25). It was not their covenant with God, as with Israel afterwards at Sinai; but it was God's covenant which HE had made with their fathers. All was of grace. Hence, Jehovah's demand to Pharaoh (in Exo 5:1) was stamped by the five great facts which it embraced:
- Jehovah and His Word.—"Thus saith Jehovah, God of Israel." To this was opposed the objection of Pharaoh (v 2), "Who is Jehovah that I should obey His voice?"
- Jehovah's People.—"Let my people go." To this Pharaoh objected (10:9-11), "Who are they that shall go?" Moses said, "We will go with our young and with our old, and with our sons and with our daughters, etc." "Not so; go now, ye that are men" (10:11), was Pharaoh's reply. In other words, God's people consist of His redeemed; and the enemy will be quite content for parents to go and serve God in the wilderness, provided they will leave their little ones behind in Egypt!
- Jehovah's Demand.—"Let my people go." No, said Pharaoh; "Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land" (8:25). And many think today that they can worship in Egypt, but "Moses said, It is not meet so to do" (8:26).
- Jehovah's Feast.—"That they may hold a feast unto me." Pharaoh's objection was (10:24), "Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed." How subtle was the opposition! But how perfect was Moses' reply (10:26), "We know not with what we must serve the LORD until we come thither." We cannot know God's will for us until we are on God's ground. Light for the second step will not be given until we have used the light given for the first.
- Jehovah's Separation.—"In the wilderness." When Pharaoh objected to their going at all, and wished them to serve God "in the land," Moses insisted on a separation of "three days' journey into the wilderness" (8:27). There must be a divinely perfect separation of the redeemed from Egypt and all its belongings. See p. 113.
But now Pharaoh's objection is more subtle. He said (8:28), "I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away!" Oh! how many yield to this temptation, and are always within easy reach of the world. Living within the borderland, they are always open to the enemy's enticements, and always in danger of his snares.
Behold, here, then, the perfection of grace, manifested in the demand of Jehovah for those "whom He hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy" (Psa 107:2). Each of its five-fold parts was stoutly resisted by the enemy, but the grace of Jehovah is invincible.
had five for its all-pervading number; nearly every measurement was a multiple of five. Before mentioning these measurements we ought to notice that worship itself is all of grace! No one can worship except those who are sought and called of the Father (John 4:23). "Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple" (Psa 65:4).
The Divine title of the book we call Leviticus is in the Hebrew Canon "He CALLED." It is the book of worship, showing how those who are to worship must be called by God, and showing how He wills to be approached. The book opens with the direction that if any man will bring an offering to the Lord he shall bring such and such an offering. The offerers and the priests are told minutely all that is to be done. Nothing is left to their imagination.
We have seen that Leviticus is the third book of the Bible. It comes to us stamped with the number of Divine perfection. The opening words are, "And Jehovah spake," an expression which occurs in the book 36 times (32x22).*
* Lev 4:1, 5:14, 6:1,8,19,24, 7:22,28, 8:1, 10:8, 11:1, 12:1, 13:1, 14:1,33, 15:1, 16:1,2, 17:1, 18:1, 19:1, 20:1, 21:1,16, 22:1,17,26, 23:1,9,23,26,33, 24:1,13, 25:1, 27:1.
- "I AM JEHOVAH" occurs 21 times (3x7).*
- "I AM THE JEHOVAH YOUR GOD" occurs 21 times (3x7).**
- "I JEHOVAH AM" occurs three times (19:1, 20:26; 21:8); and "I JEHOVAH DO" twice (21:15, 22:9), or five times together.
** Lev 11:44, 28:4,30, 19:3,4,10,25,31,34,36, 20:7,24, 23:22,43, 24:22, 25:17,38,55, 26:1,13,44.
The Tabernacle has this number of grace (five) stamped upon it.
The outer court was 100 cubits long and 50 cubits wide. On either side were 20 pillars, and along each end were 10 pillars, or 60 in all; that is 5 x 12, or grace in governmental display before the world, 12 being the number of the Tribes.
The pillars that held up the curtains were 5 cubits apart and 5 cubits high, and the whole of the outer curtain was divided into squares of 25 cubits (5x5). Each pair of pillars thus supported an area of 52 cubits of fine white linen, thus witnessing to the perfect grace by which alone God's people can witness for Him before the world. Their own righteousness (the fine linen) is "filthy rags" (Isa 64:6), and we can only say "by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor 15)—a sinner saved by grace. This righteousness is based on atonement, for 5 x 5 was also the measure of the brazen altar of burnt offering. This was the perfect answer of Christ to God's righteous requirements, and to what was required of man.
True, this brazen altar was only 3 cubits high, but this tells us that the provision was Divine in its origin, that atonement emanates solely from God.
The building itself was 10 cubits high, 10 cubits wide, and 30 cubits long. Its length was divided into two unequal parts, the Holy place being 20 cubits long; and the Holy of Holies 10 cubits, being therefore a perfect cube of 10 cubits. It was formed of forty-eight boards, twenty on either side, and eight at the end, the front being formed of a curtain hung on five pillars. These forty-eight boards (3x42) are significant of the nation as before God in the fulness of privilege on the earth (4x12). The twenty boards on each side were held together by five bars passing through rings which were attached to them.
The curtains which covered the Tabernacle structure were four in number. The first was made of ten curtains of byssus in various colours adorned with embroidered cherubim. Each curtain was 28 (4x7) cubits long and four wide. They were hung five on each side, probably sewn together to form one large sheet (20x28); the two sheets coupled together by loops, and fifty (5x10) taches of gold. The second covering was formed of eleven curtains of goats' hair, each 30 cubits long and four wide, joined together in two sheets fastened by loops and taches of brass. The third was of rams' skins dyed red, and the fourth was of tachash (or coloured) skins,* of which the dimensions are not given.
* Probably of a sacrificial animal. See p. 129.
It is worthy of note, and it is a subject which might well be further investigated by those who have leisure, that the Gematria of Hebrews 9, which gives an account of the Tabernacle, yields the number five as a factor. Taking each letter as standing for its corresponding figure, the value of Hebrews 9:2-10, describing the Tabernacle and its furniture, is 103,480. The factors of this number are all full of significance, viz., 5 x 8 x 13 x 199; where we have five the number of grace, four the number of the world, the sphere in which it is manifested, while in thirteen we have the number of sin and atonement. (See under Thirteen.)
In like manner the second section of the chapter (Heb 9:11-28), which relates to the application of the type to Christ and His atoning work, is a simple multiple of thirteen, viz., 204,451 (13x15,727).
While the important digression in verses 16, 17, and 18, amounts to 11,830, which is 132 x 14 x 5, where we have the same great important factors.
used in connection with atonement, expressing Christ's death on behalf of His people, occur also in multiples of five:—
uper (huper), which means on behalf of, in the interests of, occurs 585 times, the factors of this being 5 x 13 x 9, i.e., grace, atonement, and judgment.
peri (peri), a word of similar sense and usage, meaning about or concerning, occurs 195 times, of which the factors are 5 x 13 x 3, or grace, atonement, and divinity.
was composed of five parts, for it was a revelation of pure grace. This five is marked by the numbers four and one. For four parts were spices, and one was oil.
The four principal species:—
- Myrrh, 500 shekels (5x100).
- Sweet cinnamon, 250 shekels (5x50).
- Sweet calamus, 250 shekels (5x50).
- Cassia, 500 shekels (5x100).
And olive oil, one hin.
This anointing oil was holy, for it separated to God; nothing else could separate. It was of God, and therefore of grace; and therefore the number of its ingredients was five, and their quantities were all multiples of five.
Seven classes of persons or things were consecrated with this holy oil:—
The word for "consecration" and the act are so misunderstood that it may be well to make a passing note upon it. The Hebrew is )lm (Mah-leh). It means, to fill, fill up, complete. Its first occurrence is Genesis 1:22, "multiply and fill the waters in the seas." So 21:19, "she filled the bottle with water"; 29:21, "My days are fulfilled"; Exodus 15:9, "My soul shall have its fill of them"; 28:41, "Thou shalt fill their hand." This has been translated consecrate, which is a comment rather than a translation.
When this word is used with the word dy (yad), hand, it means to fill the hand, especially with that which is the sign and symbol of office, i.e., to fill the hand with a sceptre was to set apart or consecrate to the office of king. To fill the hand with certain parts of sacrifices, was to set apart for the office of priest and to confirm their right to offer both gifts and sacrifices to God, Exodus 29:22-25, 28:41, 29:9, 32:29. (See also Heb 5:1, 8:3,4.) A "ram of consecration" (or of filling) was a ram with parts of which the hands of the priests were filled when they were set apart to their office.
Whenever the word refers to official appointment, or separation to a work or dignity, it is the sovereign act of God, and the accompanying symbolical act was the filling of the hand of the person so appointed with the sign which marked his office. Hence the verb means in this usage to invest with an office, to communicate a dignity. It is needless to say that no man can do this for himself. It must be the act of God.
When the word is used of what man can do it is followed by the preposition l, which means "to" or "for," as in 2 Chronicles 29:31, to fill the hand for one, i.e., to bring offerings (to Jehovah), which is quite a different thing altogether. There is no idea here of what is called today, "consecration." It is a simple offering of gifts, which the offerer brings in his hands.
Only Jehovah Himself can invest a man with the privilege of any office in His service. "No man taketh this honour unto himself but he that is called of God" (Heb 5:4). Hence the Lord Jesus is specially called "the Anointed," which is in Hebrew Messiah, and in Greek CriostoV, Christos, and in English Christ. Those who vainly talk about "consecrating themselves" should read 2 Chronicles 13:9.
At the consecration of the priest under the Old Covenant in Exodus 29:20, the numbers three and five accompany the act of Divine grace. Three acts, each associated with five. The blood, and afterwards the holy oil upon it, was put—
- On the tip of the right ear, signifying that the Holy Spirit would cause him to hear the Word of God, and separating his five senses for God;
- On the thumb of his right hand (one of the five digits), signifying that he was to do and act for God;
- On the great toe of his right foot (again five), signifying that his personal walk was to be conformed to God's Word.
Thus it is now that the Holy Spirit consecrates all who are priests unto God. It is a Divine act, an act of sovereign grace. A grand reality when done for the sinner by God the Holy Ghost, but a worthless vanity when presumptuously done by a mortal man.
also was composed of five parts. Four were "sweet spices," Myms (Sa-meem), and one was salt. xlm, to salt, being rendered "tempered together." See verse 35, margin.
The four "sweet spices" were:—
- "Stacte," P+n (Nataph), "to drop"; hence a drop of aromatic gum. The LXX is stakth from spazein, "to drop." The Rabbins call it opobalsamum, as the RV margin.
- "On'ycha," tlx# (Sh'cheyleth), "a shell"; Greek onux, the shell of a species of mussel which burnt with an odour of musk.
- "Gal'banum," hnblx (Chel-b'nah), "a fragrant gum."
- "Frankincense," hnwbl (L'bonah), "a bright burning gum."
- The one, salt. The verb xlm (Mah-lach), "to salt," occurs only here and Leviticus 2:13 and Ezekiel 16:4, from which its meaning may be seen.
This incense was called by various names,—"pure," "perpetual," "sweet," "holy." No imitation of it was allowed. It indicates those precious merits of Christ through which alone our prayers can go up with acceptance before God. The incense was to symbolise "the prayers of the saints" offered by Christ Himself (Rev 5:3). Our prayers are real prayers only when they ascend through His merits. The smoke of the incense was always associated with the smoke of the burnt offering! It was the fire from the brazen altar which kindled the incense on the golden altar! It was fire of no earthly origin. It came down originally from heaven (Lev 9:24; Judg 6:21; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chron 21:26; 2 Chron 7:1). Incense kindled with "strange fire" was visited with immediate death (Lev 10:1; Num 3:4, 26:61). And incense not made of the prescribed five ingredients was forbidden to be offered (Exo 30:9). Solemn provisions these, when we apply them to our prayers. They show us that our own words are nothing, and that Christ's merits are everything. David said, "Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (Psa 141:2), i.e., as incense goes up (Heb. directed) to Thee, and the smoke of the burnt offering (the evening sacrifice), so let my prayers be accepted through the merits of that sacrifice.
"There was given unto him much incense that he should offer it WITH the prayers of all saints...and the smoke of the incense which came WITH the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand" (Rev 8:3,4). Rome has of course perverted this in her Vulgate Version, and in her various translations of it. She reads (Rev 8), ut daret de orationibus sanctorum omnium, i.e., "that he might offer the prayers of all the saints." And verse 4, et ascendit fumus incensorum de orationibus sanctorum, i.e., "and the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended." The incense and the prayers are perfectly distinct; the one represents the merits of Christ, the other our imperfect prayers. But Rome confuses them, and her reason for doing so is shown by the notes which she puts in her various versions. The teaching of Scripture is clear, that apart from Christ's merits all our prayers are absolutely worthless. Hence the exhortation in Hebrews 13:15, "BY HIM therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually; that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (see Lev 7:12; Psa 51:12; Hosea 14:3, LXX).
Among many words stamped with this significance are:—
- Ntm (Mat-tahn), "gift" (Gen 34:12; Num 18:11; Prov 18:16, 19:6, 21:14). It is suitable that this word should occur five times, for gifts are of grace. It is noteworthy that trk#m (mas-koh-reth), "wages," occurs four times, for wages are of the earth, earthy.
- Nwyqn (nik-kah-yohn), "innocency" (Gen 20:5; Psa 26:6, 73:13; Hosea 8:5; Amos 4:6).
paraklhtoV (parakleetos), translated Comforter four times in the Gospel of John, viz., 14:16, 26, 15:26, and 16:7; and Advocate once in the Epistle, 1 John 2:1.
What a gracious provision! one Advocate within us (the Holy Spirit) that we may not sin (spoken of four times); and another with the Father for us if we do sin—even "Jesus Christ the righteous." The word means one called to one's side to give any help and to meet any need. Two advocates speaking of the enemy which causes our need, and of the Helper who supplies it.
Other words are:—
- agalliasiV (agalliasis), "gladness" (Luke 1:14; Acts 2:46; Heb 1:9), "joy" (Luke 1:44), "exceeding joy" (Jude 24).
- adw (ado), "to sing" (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; Rev 5:9, 14:3, 15:3).
- anapausiV (anapausis), "rest" (Matt 11:29, 12:43; Luke 11:24; Rev 4:8, 14:11).
- asfalhV (asphalees), "certainty" (Acts 21:34, 22:30, 25:26; Phil 3:1; Heb 6:19).
- "Bless the Lord, O my soul."—All in Psalms 103 and 104, viz., 103:1, 2, 23 and 104:1, 35. The Talmud calls attention to this and says, "As God fills the earth and nourishes it, so He nourishes and blesses the soul."
- "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given" (Matt 13:12, 25:29; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18, 19:26).—Five times, telling of the grace which gives.
- "The kingdom of God."—Five times in the Gospel (Matthew) which alone speaks of "the kingdom of heaven." The latter refers to earth, and the kingdom to be established here. While the former relates to the larger kingdom of grace, which includes it and the Church and all beside (Matt 6:33, 12:8, 19:24, 21:31 and 43).
The Talmud (Yoma, fol. 21, col. 2) asks (under Hagg 1:8), "How is it that the word dbk)w, 'And I will be glorified,' is written without the final h (which stands for five) and is yet read as if it had it (hbk)w)? Because it indicates that the second Temple lacked five things that were found in the first Temple, viz:—
- The Ark that is the mercy-seat of the Cherubim,
- The Fire from heaven on the altar,
- The Shechinah,
- The Spirit of prophecy, and
- The Urim and Thummim."
This answer is correct as far as it goes, but it is written nevertheless, in Haggai 2:9, "The glory of this latter house shall be greater than the former." True, it lacked the Law that was contained in the Ark, but it had the presence of Him who was full of grace and truth, and who had that Law within His heart.